- Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders
A slow 40-yard dash time for a running back. A defensive end without the size and speed required by most NFL teams. A quarterback with a big brain but a small arm. Trouble off the field. No matter the reason, every draft brings its share of sleeper picks. Here, we'll define "sleepers" as players with third-round or lower projections who have skills that transfer well to the right NFL schemes. Here are 10 potential draft-day bargains who could make their future GMs look like geniuses.
Donald Butler, LB, Washington Huskies:
A great defender on a series of subpar teams, Butler finally got noticed in his senior season and crashed his way onto the combine invite list with a great Senior Bowl week. At 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, Butler is a versatile linebacker who projects best outside in a 4-3 scheme. He can hit the run downhill and drop into coverage -- and his best football might be ahead of him.
Dezmon Briscoe, WR, Kansas Jayhawks:
Briscoe isn't a downfield speedster, but he has a nose for the end zone (31 touchdowns in 37 games), and he gets clean from coverage with good route running. There have been questions about his consistency and ability to run a full route tree out of Kansas' spread offense, but he looked much better than expected at the combine. In a group of receivers who didn't impress with their route correctness, Briscoe looked better than most.